Typical in many respects, the Keller's Mill Bridge (officially known as the Cocalico #5 Bridge) is different as it lacks the traditional colors of the other 27 Lancaster County covered bridge which normally have red sides and white portals. This is the only bridge to have survived the transition from whitewashing to the red color commonly used in barns throughout the county. Other than this, it is located in the typical beautiful, idyllic countryside with farms, acres of crops, quiet streams and live stock roaming freely. This bridge was moved from its original location in 2006 and then eventually to this site in 2010. Traffic winds around the end on one side and there is not much to move around inside so if you do visit, be careful as you could easily get smushed. I also created a video which is hosted on YouTube of a walk-through I did. I visited Keller's Mill Bridge on July 12, 2012 @ 11:42 AM. I used a Canon PowerShot 14.1 Megapixel, SX210 IS digital camera for the photos.
The bridge relocation resulted from a first-of-its-kind agreement in Pennsylvania that allowed Ephrata Township to preserve the historic structure by disassembling it, restoring it and reconstructing it at its new site. The bridge, built in 1873, replaced a steel-truss bridge that had been closed since 1990. Keller's Mill Covered Bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch trusses design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. The bridge is not painted on the inside. The bridge is 74 ft (22.56 m), long; its mainspan is 64 ft (19.51 m) and it is 15 ft (4.572m wide). The clearance height is 11 feet (3.4 meters).
This bridge is the only remaining bridge in Lancaster County Pennsylvania that is painted white. It was originally built in 1873 on Rettew Mill Road near Ephrats Township by master bridge builder Elias McMellen for a cost of $2,075. It was destroyed by flooding in 1891 and rebuilt that same year, again by McMellen. In 2006 the bridge was bypassed by a more modern steel and concrete bridge due to traffic load and the covered bridge was dismantled and placed into storage with the goal of someday reassembling it in another location. It wasn’t until 2010 that the bridge was reassembled at its new location on Middle Creek Road. It was officially re-opened in December of 2010.
The bridge is 74 feet long and is owned and maintained by Lancaster County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 10, 1980. The bridge is also known by the names “Guy Bard’s Covered Bridge”, after a local jurist and “Cocalico 5 Covered Bridge” keeping with the numbering scheme of those covered bridges that cross the Cocalico Creek in the County. SOURCE
There was a newspaper article written about the reopening of this historic bridge which can be found HERE.
Since this location is brand new for this bridge, the folks who did the project had the foresight to consider visitors might want to come here to tour the NRHP site as well as realizing there would be all sorts of dignitaries here for the ribbon cutting ceremonies. As a result, they included a parking lot for three cars on the east side of the bridge. So far, in my bridge travels, this is the only covered bridge with such accommodations. This is also the only covered bridge I have found so far that has its own sign of history. This excellent and quite attractive interpretive is at the parking area. the marker is the usual, horizontally held sign, low to the ground, angled forward for easy viewing and supported in a thick, metal frame. The sign features a map which shows the locations of the other Lancaster County covered bridges. There is also another map of the immediate region, the specifications of the bridge are listed as well as several color pictures. The text reads as follows:
Keller's Mill Bridge
A New Home for the White Bridge
White is an unusual color for covered bridges in Lancaster County. In fact, this bridge is the only one of the county's covered bridges that is not painted red.
This same bridge once spanned the Cocalico Creek at Rettew Mill Road, but due to increasing traffic, it was dismantled in 2006 and reassembled here at Middle Creek Road in 2010. A new concrete span was built at Rettew Mill Road, and an iron bridge at Middle Creek Road was removed.
Keller's Mill Bridge is named for the family who built a house and mill near the bridge's original location.
Although the mill is now gone, the Keller house still stands on Rettew Mill Road. The first covered bridge at that site was built in 1873, but was destroyed by flood. In 1891, the existing bridge was constructed by Elias a, who also built the earlier bridge.
Other names associated with this bridge include the Rettew family, who owned the Keller house and mill in the early 20th century, and Guy Bard, a prominent attorney who owned these properties in the 1940s and 1950s.
And so, without further ado, here is a list of my seven waymarks, in descending category order, now all new with HOT LINKS.
02. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
05. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
06. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
10. ONLY -- White Covered Bridge in Lancaster County - Lititz, PA
13. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
14. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
15. Keller's Mill Bridge, Lititz, PA
* Listings reflect new department-category alignment.
07. Measurement Standards
15. Waymarking Multifarious